Should Students Listen to Music in Class?


Chase King, Reporter

Most students believe that listening to music in class is helpful, but is that really the case? Music helps a lot of students concentrate, but it can also be a distraction to some. How can you tell whether or not you should be listening to music in school? I gathered some research and asked students and teachers around the school their opinion on the matter.

Researchers have mixed opinions on whether or not listening to music in class can help students, or if it is detrimental to them. Some researchers believe that music can help open the brain and allow for students to learn. Researchers from Florida National University said, “Music activates both the left and right brain at the same time, and the activation of both hemispheres can maximize learning and improve memory” ( On the other hand, there are  researchers who believe the opposite, that it makes it harder to focus and hinders students’ learning abilities; research from PsychologyToday shows that listening to music while trying to retain information can be damaging as it takes up a lot of your focus. With so much research claiming either way, it becomes hard to understand whether or not music truly is helpful in a classroom. 

With that being said I turned to some students to gather their opinions. Most students  seem to believe that music is helpful, or at least not damaging, in the classroom environment. I have always personally believed that I can work just as well when listening to music as when I am not listening to music. Junior, Jackson Lowery says that he does better in class when listening to music stating, “It helps me relax, and blocks out other noises from the class.” He believes that listening to music while in class is important to him because it makes class more fun and bearable. A lot of students say that music just overall helps them focus, although some teachers would disagree with this, like Mrs. McCook, who believes that “more students think that they can focus while listening to music, than actually can.” There are also many students like Junior, Nicholas Kahng who find themselves listening to music “to keep [themself] composed and to get away from all the stress of school.” All over the school, students seem to believe that music belongs in the classroom.

But do teachers feel the same way? Science teacher Mrs. McCook sure doesn’t, she doesn’t allow her students to listen to music in her class, and believes it isn’t good for them. She said that “there is a time and place for everything” and that students shouldn’t be focused on music when in class. She gave some reasoning behind her stance and said, “I feel like students can’t comprehend what they are reading as much when listening to music.” When students listen to music during instructions, and lectures she feels that they don’t get as much information. When asked if she feels disrespected when students put on headphones, and listen to music in her class she told me, “Yes, because I don’t know what they are listening to, it could be a movie for all I know.” Also she feels that  it can be disrespectful when students aren’t focused on what she is teaching. She even told me that students who listen to music throughout her class tend to perform worse in her class. Overall Mrs. McCook is against music in class, and urges students to try and do their work without it. 

On the contrary, English teacher Mrs. Gudelsky believes that students should be able to listen to music in class as long as they do so responsibly. She allows all of her students to listen to music as she says, “There’s enough science to support that it’s beneficial.” In fact she listens to music whenever she does work outside of school. However, she does prefer when students only listen with one earbud so that they can still hear her instructing class. She does feel that it may be harmful for certain students “if they are too focused on the music, and the lyrics.” It isn’t disrespectful in her opinion, as long as students are respectful with it, but she can find it a bit disrespectful if they are listening with two earbuds, and are unresponsive to her instructions. Unlike Mrs. McCook she hasn’t noticed any correlation between a student listening to music, and having worse grades. Mrs. Gudelsky believes it is the students decision to listen to music or not, and doesn’t believe it is harmful to the student. 

So, should you listen to music in class? Overall I think that it depends on what you are doing in class, what type of student you are, and who your teacher is that determines whether or not you should be listening to music. If you can completely focus while listening to music, and it helps you relieve stress then go ahead, but if you find yourself struggling to retain information while listening to music, maybe you should try and tuck away the airpods.



old_admin_content. “The Benefits of Studying with Music.” Florida National University, 13 Aug. 2019, 


Busch, Bradley. “Drowned in Sound: How Listening to Music Hinders Learning.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 14 Mar. 2018, 


“The Mozart Effect Doesn’t Work…” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers,

Plair, Mariyah, and Ariella Aquino. “Students, Teachers Have Mixed Opinions on Allowing Music in the Classroom.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 9 Oct. 2015,